Shell to Deploy Autonomous Subsea Robot for Gulf of Mexico InspectionsShell to Deploy Autonomous Subsea Robot for Gulf of Mexico Inspections
Under a deal with Nauticus Robotics, Shell will use the company’s autonomous subsea robot to inspect its assets
September 20, 2023
Shell has awarded an offshore services contract to Nauticus Robotics, deploying the company’s autonomous subsea robot, the Aquanaut, for inspection services.
The inspection robot will be sent to perform “non-contact and contact” inspections of assets at Shell’s subsea field in the Gulf of Mexico, diving to depths of more than 3,000 feet. The partners said there is scope for additional inspection projects in the future, depending on the success of the initial contract.
The robot will be operated remotely by a pilot, leveraging Nauticus’ acoustic communications link.
The contract follows Nauticus’ successful qualification phase for autonomous methods of subsea operations for inspection services. In a statement, the companies said the project could lead to a “step change” in underwater operations, maturing technologies to enable safe, efficient projects in the offshore sector.
“Nauticus now has visibility of long-term inspection, maintenance and repair services work for Shell and the opportunity to become the preferred supplier for this advanced work,” said Nicolaus Radford, Nauticus’ CEO. “We recognize the significance of this opportunity with Shell and look forward to the execution of this project work.”
Alongside Aquanaut, Nauticus’ pipeline of underwater robots includes Hydronaut, an autonomous or remotely controlled small vessel, and the Olympic Arm, a robotic subsea arm device.
The company received a contract from the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) last October to develop an autonomous system for Aquanaut, and a DIU contract in February for the use of its autonomous command and control platform, ToolKITT, in the U.S. Navy’s Defender Mission Specialist for inspection and security purposes.
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